20181026-26 Oct 2018



With ‘term sheet’ approved, Mote Marine to work on parking and rezoning issues in effort to purchase county land for new aquarium

County Commissioner Detert only board member to raise concerns, expressing desire not to create problems akin to those in SANCA agreement forged years ago

It took just under 30 minutes on Oct. 24 for the Sarasota County Commission to vote in full support of a “term sheet” that lays out the process for 11.45 acres of county property at Nathan Benderson Park to become the site of a $130-million Mote Marine Laboratory Science Education Aquarium. (Read more »)

Tourist Development Tax ordinance change approved to divert tourism promotional funds to repairs at Ed Smith Stadium during two fiscal years

Representatives of county’s tourism office and business owners plead with commissioners not to take away funds needed to combat red tide publicity

With a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota County Commission approved a modification of the ordinance governing the county’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue allocations to cover necessary repairs to Ed Smith Stadium in the 2020 and 2022 fiscal years. (Read more »)

Sheriff and county commissioners agree on desire to avoid constructing new jail at $103-million expense

Tom Knight reports on continuing climb in jail population

Almost exactly a year after he broached the issue of the rising jail population and his desire to avoid constructing a new correctional facility, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight was back before the County Commission this week with more concern. On Oct. 10, 2017, Knight said, the jail population was 930; on Oct. 10 of this year, the figure stood at 1,042, “a 12% increase in one year.” (Read more »)

County administrator earns ‘Excellent’ evaluations and 3% pay increase

Commissioners praise Jonathan Lewis’ work during first year in the position

All five of his bosses rated Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis’ performance “Excellent” as they evaluated his first year on the job. As a result, the county commissioners this week also unanimously approved a 3% pay raise for Lewis, whom they formally hired on Jan. 16 to take the place of County Administrator Tom Harmer. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office Homeless Outreach Team has helped 80 people get into emergency shelter since beginning informal launch on June 1

Sheriff Knight provides statistics and case histories

Since the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office unofficially launched its Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) on June 1, the team members of have been in contact with more than 300 individuals and have placed 80 of them in beds at the Salvation Army shelter in Sarasota, Sheriff Tom Knight has announced. (Read more »)

Proposed advisory board reappointment prompts County Commission vote to ensure advertisement of all such positions in the future

Commission splits 4-1 on reappointment of Kafi Benz to Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen Advisory Committee

Commissioner Michael Moran asked that the item be pulled from the Consent Agenda for discussion. A memo to the board from Leigh Sprimont, the county’s commission services manager, explained that Kafi Benz had asked to serve another three-year term on the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen Advisory Committee. Benz’s term would end in November 2021, the memo said. (Read more »)

Parks and recreation director gets big send-off after 30.5-year career with Sarasota County Government

Carolyn Brown to join staff of Town of Longboat Key next week

After — as she put it — “30.5 years” in the employment of Sarasota County, Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) Director Carolyn Brown marked her final day with the county on Oct. 10. County Administrator Jonathan Lewis and the County Commission not only bade a formal farewell to Brown that day, but Lewis also took the opportunity during the County Commission meeting to praise Brown and her staff for the PRNR Department’s winning national accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

SOSS2 to host Nov. 27 kickoff of special matching fund drive for federal lawsuit; SKA representatives get a private meeting with FDEP secretary to discuss Lido shoreline issues; Jason Mruczek earns Sheriff’s Office promotion; and reminder offered about Village motorcycle parking regulations

Save Our Siesta Sands 2 (SOSS2) is launching a special matching funds drive as part of the National Giving Challenge, the nonprofit has announced. The dollars raised will pay for the expert witnesses who will be called to testify in the federal lawsuit SOSS2 will file in late November in a new effort to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from dredging Big Sarasota Pass and the shoal that protects Siesta Key. (Read more »)

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OTHER NEWS (free):

Japan offers plenty of sights and activities as couple continues on Pacific voyage

Orioles teaming up again with area nonprofits to fight hunger in Sarasota

Supervisor of Elections Turner advising voters to return vote-by-mail ballots promptly

National Drug Take-Back Initiative set for Oct. 27

Oct. 31 Candidates Forum for District 4 County Commission seat open to the public

Citizens’ Academy in City of Sarasota set for Jan. 24

Sarasota Memorial Hospital certified as Breast Cancer Center of Excellence for demonstration of ‘high-level performance’